Sunday, November 24, 2013

Seoul and Busan Trip 2013 - Day 5 - Gyeongbokgung Palace Part 1

Finally, we were making our way to Gyeongbokgung Palace, we just had to cross the wide road.

Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace -- is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South Korea. First constructed in 1395, later burned and abandoned for almost three centuries, and then reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The name means "Palace" [Gung] "Greatly Blessed by Heaven" [Gyeongbok].

In the early 20th century, much of the palace was destroyed by Imperial Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex has been gradually restored back to its original form. As of 2009, roughly 40% of the original number of palace buildings still stand or have been reconstructed.You can read more information about the palace from wikipedia.

But at the crossing, we could not resist buying these roasted chestnuts.

Video of entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace and its surrounding.

Guarding the entrance of the palace are some statues known as Xiezhi (Chinese: 獬豸)or Haetae ( Haetae, often spelled Haitai or Haechi) is a legendary creature in Chinese and Korean mythology.

In china, the xiezhi was used as a symbol of justice and law while in korea their image was trusted to be able to protect Hanyang (now Seoul) from natural disasters and to give law and order among the populace. You can find out more from wikipedia.

Common sight of policemen around most tourist areas.

Love taking photos of these beautiful paintings in the ceiling.

We spend too much time in King Sejong's museum, so we just missed the performance at Gyeongbokgung Palace, I think the time was about 11 am. But on Day 6 of my trip, I managed to video another guard changing ceremony at Deoksugung Palace (will post in later post).

First we need to buy tickets to enter the palace. It costs 3000 won to enter the Gyeongbokgung Palace or you can choose to pay 10,000 won for visits to four palaces and a shrine. As I have already visited Changdeokgung Palace twice during my last two previous trips to Korea, I wont want a 3rd visit to the Changdeokguang palace again. Changdeokgung is located next to Gyeongbokgung Palace but Bukchon Hanok Village (will post about this village in later post) is sandwiched between these two palaces.

Geunjeongjeon Hall, is the throne hall where the king formally granted audiences to his officials, gave declarations of national importance, and greeted foreign envoys and ambassadors during the Joseon Dynasty.

These animal shaped figures on the roofs were used not only as decorative symbols to show the dignity and grandeur of a building but also as shamanic symbols to chase away evil spirits and misfortune.

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